Concert Review: Laura Marling, May 25, 99 Sudbury


After opening her set with a lengthy number, Laura Marling addressed the audience with a simple statement: “That was a long one.” A guy in the audience shouted out in response, “Well played!” to which Marling responded with a dismissive hand wave, as if to humbly downplay the compliment. I was reminded as he did so of Ricky’s review of a previous set by Marling in our city where audience members similarly shouted stuff out at her. It’s a common occurrence at some folk shows, and not at all surprising; the intimate nature of the music tends to invite a sense of intimacy between audience and performer. In fact, Marling seemed to have the crowd on her side from the very beginning.

If by chance, some in attendance that night were’t already admirers, Marling certainly gave them a lot of reasons to like her. Not only is she a talented guitarist and singer, but she’s also a fairly charming performer. Who else could openly admit that she spends 25% of her set tuning and another 25% telling a story about a snafu at the airport and not have it seem like too big of a deal? Truth be told, the airport story (which involved her flight getting cancelled and a scramble to get her luggage back all while attempting to remain calm) was one of the most enjoyable parts of her set, along with songs such as “Master Hunter,” “Rambling Man,” and a cover of Townes Van Zant’s “For The Sake Of The Song,” which she introduced with an apology to the purists for skipping a few of the verses. During the airport story, Marling herself seemed to be surprised with herself, noting that it seemed like she was telling the story to a dear friend instead of a roomful of strangers. She ended her set by announcing that there would be no encore as she just doesn’t do them and that those who wanted an encore could just pretend that the song before the last song was the last song and that this would be her encore. Another reason to like her. Encores are bunk anyways.

There’s something kind of mesmerizing about Marling’s perfomance. For a perfomer who’s still rather young (she’s 23), she has a voice and sound that seems old beyond her years and timeless in some ways. There’s a definite connection to the traditions of British folk music that comes through.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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